Title: This Betrayal Will Be Our End
Label: Sassafras Records & Distro.
Format: 12” LP, digital
Genre: Indie, lo fi, rock, alt rock, garage rock
After several manufacturing delays, Merch’s album, “This Betrayal Will Be Our End,” is finally getting a US release on vinyl. And right away, the record is off to a powerful start. It opens with the instrumental, “Death of a Love,” which is rich with orchestral genius before groaning to a mournful apex with guitar feedback. It certainly wasn’t what I expected after reading up on the album and I have to say that that unexpectedness impressed me.
The second track, “Osmosis,” is a fully fledged song with strong lyrics. The style reminds me a bit of TV On The Radio, in a way, something that enthralled me. And as I explored this LP further, the more I found myself enjoying it. “Condom in My Pocket” is an unmistakable highlight. Its rich lo-fi, garage rock atmosphere and brilliant writing make this track a gem.
Some tracks, like “Before You Go Back To Him,” have light hints of blues and almost a 60s-esque melancholy feel. The theme of the record clearly is about a break-up, but while that might be one of the most common themes in songwriting, I find that the presentation here is unique and fresh. This track in particular makes that clear. Yes, this record traverses the typical break-up feelings of denial, regret, anger and sadness, but it is definitely not your cliché broken-heart record. And in that sense, that’s perfect, as it’s still relatable but keeps the prospect that each break-up is unique in circumstance in one respect or another.
I like how this album is not afraid to leap from genre to genre without losing consistency. Some tracks are heavy and hit hard, while some pieces are softer, and some employ the use of the sax, violins and other stringed instruments. Lyrically, the aforementioned theme remains intact, and even as the genre shifts, it never ceases to match the tone and pace of the music. Tracks like “I Don’t Hate You,” and “My Best Friend,” drive this point home. A lot of thought was put into this recording and it is easy to see that upon a listen.
Should you buy this album? The better question is “where was this album when I had my own messy break-ups?” Even if you’re not going through one, this recording is something to be heard. The writing and orchestration is amazing and surpassed my expectations. Fans of TV On The Radio, Black Mountain, garage rock, blues, lo-fi and/or indie rock should not be disappointed. So, yes, I would buy this. After the two years spent putting it together and the manufacturing delays, I’d say it was well worth the wait. Get your copy here, or for the physical version, here.
4.7 out of 5.